Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Place to See...and Be Seen! The Brown Derby Lounge

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Located inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park, the Brown Derby Lounge is a walk-up dining experience with both indoor and outdoor seating options. It offers appetizers, desserts, and a full bar including specialty cocktails and flights.
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On the evening that we dined there, we were able to grab a table as other guests were leaving, but it can be rather crowded at times and difficult to get a seat. We enjoyed the experience, but the level of service was not what a guest might expect from a Signature Restaurant. The food was ok, but not exceptional. However, the atmosphere was very nice. We enjoyed sitting outside at the end of the evening and winding down with a drink. I would recommend trying the lounge for drinks and desserts at the end of a day in the parks.



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SERVICE
Our server was very pleasant and charming. However, when we sat at the table after the previous guests left, the dishes were cleared but the table was not wiped down. We ordered several items from the menu including a dish that had a selection of meats and cheeses (see below). When we asked which items were which, he was unable to tell us anything about the dish. One of our appetizers was a Cobb salad. Although they toss the dish table-side when dining inside the restaurant, there was no offer to do so at the Lounge. Additionally, when we asked for more crostini, he brought them, but he brought out dry ones. He said that seasoned ones would take an additional 5 minutes and he didn’t want us to wait, but they were not very good plain and dry.
We arrived during the last seating time of the evening, but I still don’t expect to have service compromised at the conclusion of a very-high priced meal of appetizers and drinks. Especially not at a Signature Restaurant.


FOOD
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Small Plates *Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie Board for Two 20.00
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An assortment of Artisanal Cheeses, with Salami Calabrese, Chorizo Picante, Salami Toscano, Duck Rillette, Imported Prosciutto, and Chicken “Faux Gras” Terrine.
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Despite not knowing what exact cheeses we were eating, we did enjoy them. Our parmesan style cheese was mostly a pile of rind. We notified the server. He apologized but nothing was done about it. We made educated guesses about what each meat was as we ate them. The salami calabrese was delicious with a strong fennel flavor that I enjoyed. The chorizo was not overly spicy at all. We liked the duck rillette, but it can best be described as the flavors of leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving, cold turkey (duck) and gravy. Neither of us cared for the chicken “faux gras.” It smelled too much like cat food for me to enjoy it.



*Crostini
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Delicious, crisp, and perfect for holding bits of meat and cheese. The first order of buttery seasoned crostini far exceeded the dry unseasoned ones that were brought out later.


*“The Famous Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad” 9.00
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Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing
I have had this salad inside the Brown Derby for lunch. I really enjoyed it. This was a very small serving and the proportions seemed to be different than the normal salad. Between this and the cheese platter, I was overwhelmed with blue cheese. I also would have enjoyed the table-side presentation of mixing the salad at the lounge like it is done inside the restaurant. I would probably skip the appetizer version next time.


*The Derby Cocktail 15.00
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Jumbo Lump Blue Crab, and Black Tiger Shrimp with Avocado, and a Horseradish-Tomato Juice
This was very pretty, but nothing spectacular in flavor. The Horseradish-Tomato Juice arrived in a shooter glass on the side and the waiter dumped it on top as soon as he put the dish down without giving us the option. It was spicy. I would have preferred to have it poured on only one side of the dish or left to the side for us to taste prior to drowning the dish in it.


THE FINALE
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*Dessert Trio (our selection) 9.00
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Warm Blueberry Cobbler with Cream Fraiche and Orange Blossom Honey
Banana Toffee Cake on Cocoa Crunch and Strawberry Banana Pearls

I believe the third is the Chocolate Sphere with Hazelnut Praline Chocolate and Orange White Chocolate Mousse. But it could be the Milk Chocolate Cremeux with Mojito Concoction on Almond Rocher. We debated for awhile and I don’t remember what the exact flavor of it was now. I do know that we liked it. Despite being full from all the crostini and cheeses, we both really enjoyed the presentation and tastes of the desserts. They were very unique and delicious.


*Champagne Flight 2 oz. pour of each 16.00
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Fairy Tale by Iron Horse Celebration Cuvee Brut, Green Valley, ’12
Taittinger Bruit La Francaise Reime, France N.V
Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui, Piedmont, Italy ’11

Rosa Regale is one of my favorite wines. It is available everywhere, including most Disney restaurants, lounges, and it is a feature on the EPCOT Wine Walk for Italy (see Wine Walk Info HERE). I have not enjoyed the Fairy Tale Cuvee in the past despite its appealing name. However, once I realized that it is popular for Disney weddings and probably is served with wedding cake, I learned to enjoy it with desserts. It paired nicely with the dessert trio that we chose.

All of the desserts were delicious and unique. I think that guests are best served by ordering drinks and desserts at the Lounge for the best experience. It is a very nice place to relax, but the appetizers really are not worth the money. For approximately $90 (including tax and tip) for two people to have appetizers, a shared dessert, and drinks, I expected more. You do not receive a Signature Dining experience at the Lounge. But, it is still an excellent place to relax with a cocktail at the end of a long day.

**The Brown Derby Lounge is handicap accessible.
**All Menu Items Subject to Change
**Find Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers or on her Blog, www.ThePrincessPapers.com

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